Russian President Vladimir Putin said musician Elton John is "an extraordinary person" as he defended his country's stance on homosexuality ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, during an interview with BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.
Mr Putin said: "Read our law carefully - and pay attention to its name. It's called a 'ban on the propaganda of paedophilia and homosexuality'. There are countries, including in Europe, where they're debating the possibility of legalising paedophilia. Publicly discussing this, in parliament.
"They can do what they want, but the people of Russia have their own cultural code, their own traditions.
"It seems to me that the law we adopted doesn't harm anybody. What's more, homosexual people can't feel inferior here, because there is no professional, career or social discrimination against them.
"When they achieve great success, for example Elton John - he's an extraordinary person, a distinguished musician, and millions of our people sincerely love him, regardless of his sexual orientation."
More top news
More rain to come in the north tomorrow, as south sees best of dry and warmer weather.
Should Big Sam stay or should he go? The FA's chairman Greg Clarke has a difficult decision to make about the England manager job.
Westminster cats Larry and Palmerston rule the roost in Downing Street, says former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.